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Better quality assurance of distance learning materials needed

While the Department of Education (DepEd) has put up its ‘Error Watch’ to monitor errors in its learning materials, Senator Win Gatchalian sought a more rigorous quality assurance of lessons’ content to avoid confusion among the country’s public school learners.


VALENZUELA CITY, Philippines – Senate Committee on Basic Education chairman Senator Win Gatchalian observes the implementation of the basic education continuity action plan of the Department of Education and at the local government level by visiting Valenzuela School of Mathematics and Science where live streaming teachers (LSTs) utilize Facebook as an online teaching platform and a number of houses where students take their lessons on the opening day of School Year 2020-2021, 5 Oct 2020. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

DepEd reported that from October 12 to 20, its Error Watch initiative has monitored 41 errors in self-learning modules, 27 of which came from those developed by field units. These locally developed modules did not pass through the central office’s quality screening, DepEd explained. DepEd reported that some errata were already issued and that it is tapping “third party expert SLM conformance reviewers” from volunteers and the academe.

Aside from the self-learning modules, television episodes of some lessons, including those used for test broadcasts of DepEd TV, earlier went viral on social media and drew flak for containing errors.

While the Error Watch initiative will be helpful in ensuring accuracy in lessons, Gatchalian reiterated that it is more productive to ensure that these mistakes are already rooted out and rectified at the quality assurance process.

According to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, sharing these erroneous lessons and correcting them afterwards could increase confusion among learners. The lawmaker also suggested that DepEd’s collaboration with volunteers and the academe should also be strengthened in the regional and division levels since most of the errors come from field units.

“Sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon sa panahon ng pandemya ng COVID-19, hindi lamang ang paraan ng pagtuturo ang dapat nating tutukan. Kailangang siguruhin din natin na tama ang mga araling itinuturo natin sa ating mga kabataan. Sa pagsuri natin sa bawat aralin, ang kaalaman ng mahigit 22 milyong mag-aaral ang nakasalalay,” Gatchalian said.

As the country’s education sector works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gatchalian reiterated that efforts to build back better should include investment in quality learning materials, one of the steps he also recommended following the results of the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The global survey revealed that out of 79 countries, the Philippines ranked lowest in Reading Comprehension and second lowest in Science and Mathematics.

Gatchalian also explained that his push to increase centers of excellence for teacher education nationwide would help in the creation of quality learning materials. Under Republic Act No. 7784, which formed the Teacher Education Council to improve teacher education in the country, one of the functions of a center of excellence is to serve as a teacher resource center for the development of curricular and instructional materials.

In a Senate hearing, non-profit organization Philippine Business for Education revealed that out of 1,572 Teacher Education Institutions, only 74 are recognized as centers of excellence and development.